Insights from Sirach

Sirach is not much read outside of the Catholic Church--consigned to the so-called Apocrypha (really the deutero-canon) it is a much overlooked source of Biblical wisdom and insight and so I share these two snippets from the Office of Reading of the day:

from Sirach 1:18-20, 27-28

A man may become rich through a miser's life,
and this is his allotted reward:
When he says "I have found rest,
now I will feast on my possessions,"
He does not know how long it will be
till he dies and leaves them to others.


For it is easy with the Lord on the day of death
to repay man according to his deeds.

A moment's affliction brings forgetfulness of past delights;
when a man dies, his life is revealed.
Call no man happy before his death,
for by how he ends, a man is known.

Somber and sobering thoughts--but they go along well with the age of the metaphysical poets and the memento mori.


  1. "Call no man happy before his death" reminds me of something the Chorus says/sings at the conclusion of Oedipus Rex.

  2. Dear Fred,

    A point well taken. And always interesting to me. Wisdom is universal--there is no Greek Wisdom and Chinese Wisdom and Christian Wisdom in any way that makes substantive difference--the truth is the truth and it rings like a bell wherever it is sounded.




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